What is call center technology?
Call center technology is a general term for all the technological equipment a call center uses on a daily basis to simplify inbound and outbound calls. Advanced contact center technology ranges from voice authentication to predictive dialers, which can boost employee productivity and enable them to provide premium customer support. Not only that, but businesses that implement new call center system technologies may see increased organization, profits, and efficiency in call management.
Refer to the information below to learn about emerging call center technology trends, the tools modern call centers need, and how these tools can help you improve the employee and customer experience.
Key call center technologies
Did you know 44% of customers want call centers to implement solutions to improve their experience? Modern call centers require calling technology that enables them to route and record calls, measure employee performance, manage the customer relationship, and so much more. Here are some of the key call center technologies that may help to fulfill these responsibilities more effectively.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Interactive voice response (IVR) is a calling technology that detects high-level caller intent, measures wait times, delivers automated resolutions, and offers a call back if an agent is needed, thereby reducing time spent on the line. IVR increases efficiency using industry-leading AI and self-service tools to enable customers to resolve certain basic issues quickly and without congesting the calling queue.
Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)
An automatic call distributor (ACD) system is software that helps call centers function more efficiently. It matches customer calls to the best available agents in the least time possible. ACDs offer real-time analysis of the capacity and skills of working agents, routing certain types of calls directly to agents with the most experience or agents matching other set criteria. Advancements in AI have allowed for the evolution of the ACD to include routing attributes such as service quality, intent proficiency, and demographic or behavioral data to better match agents with customers. The result is a faster resolution and a happier caller.
When a customer calls with a service complaint or a technical issue, it’s essential for a call center to be able to provide a swift, effective, and consistent resolution. Guided workflows give agents step-by-step instructions on handling specific types of customer problems and are surfaced based on real-time conversation. This ensures each agent is on the same page about how to resolve repeat problems and is providing a consistent experience for customers.
Call recording and quality management
Call centers can use call recording technology to observe agent performance, ensure legal compliance, provide new employees with training resources, and document common caller grievances, requests, and overall satisfaction — all in real time. For quality management purposes, call recording can be paired with scorecards, which let quality managers and supervisors score the agent on their performance while listening to the call recording. While call recordings were previously stored on servers at the organization's physical location, modern call centers now record and store their call records via cloud technology.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A CRM platform is used across an organization’s sales, marketing, service, and support teams as its primary database for customer information. In a call center, the CRM system is often integrated with the call center system so that customer data is easily accessible by agents. IVRs often collect customer data and then match the CRM record against the caller so that when the call is routed to an agent they have both conversation data and customer data at their fingertips. Agents then use the information about a specific caller to immediately understand who they are and deliver the best service in a unique way that yields customer loyalty.
Conversational AI and voice bots
Callers value human interaction for complex requests, but voice bots can often point callers to a solution without needing an agent if the request is routine. Voice bots are AI-powered, 24/7 virtual agents that can provide people with basic information whenever they need it and route them to the best agent for their needs when necessary. Due to advancements in speech recognition and Natural Language Understanding (NLU), voice bots can improve caller satisfaction by reducing wait times and help contact center managers meet SLAs by reducing live agent-led call volume.
Workforce management is a software tool that ensures balanced workloads by forecasting staff requirements for any given day using historical trends and data projections. Having a workforce management system ensures your call center is properly staffed at any given time and that the needs of your callers are always met in a timely manner.
Call center analytics
Call center analytics allow you to measure call center KPIs and SLAs and report on agent performance by collecting inbound and outbound call data. Track call center metrics such as call time, hold time, call volume, customer retention, service-level agreement (SLA) performance, revenue, customer satisfaction (CSAT), first contact resolution, and more to boost profits and gain the loyalty of customers. This information can be used to extract insights and manage the quality of your service more effectively. Modern AI-powered call center analytics platforms can consolidate metrics from multiple databases and act as a single point of truth for all analytics.
Customer satisfaction surveys and AI satisfaction measurement
You can’t make customers happier without knowing how happy they currently are with your services. Gather direct feedback with customized, branded customer surveys — an easy way to collect direct feedback about all aspects of your customer experience across channels. With the right call center technology, you can automatically distribute customer surveys after a call and ask for feedback. The data from the customer will then integrate within a cohesive reporting dashboard that analyzes the feedback and shows you where your team can improve.
Unfortunately, not all customers are willing to spend the time taking a survey. When they aren’t, you can leverage the power of AI to gauge caller sentiment based on emotion, intensity, response time, and more from your phone conversations. This information can inform productive changes among your staff to drive better customer satisfaction.
AI-powered case management
Contact centers can struggle with overflowing queues and other inefficiencies that slow agents down. AI-powered case management software provides context details needed to provide callers with fast resolutions using information from more than 30 digital channels. Case management technology then filters cases by priority, detects caller sentiment, and automates your workflows so you can provide a quick resolution for more people.
Emergent contact center technology trends
In addition to the tools above, here are some emerging contact center technology trends that will save you money, make life easier for employees, and ultimately keep your call center ahead of the game.
Remote and hybrid call centers
Since the beginning of COVID-19, many call centers have shifted to full-time remote work. The remote call center trend has widened the talent pool for hiring, reduced or eliminated real estate costs, and diminished turnover. What’s more, the flexibility of working at home is making agents happier — which leads to happier callers.
Some call center managers still have reservations about keeping their agents at home, but thanks to Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) which makes deploying and managing remote agents easy, you can reap the benefits of remote work without worrying about agent productivity. With call recording and monitoring, workflow automation, and performance-tracking platforms, you can still listen to calls and monitor the quality of your agents’ service any time you want to understand performance and coaching opportunities.
Digital channel support in a contact center is not new, but we expect to see more contact centers shifting to a digital-first strategy over the next few years in order to reduce costs, maximize revenue, and improve the customer experience.
Omnichannel contact centers
There is more than one way to reach your contacts. You can reach out to people through a variety of channels — including text, chat, email, social media, and more. Omnichannel customer service involves synchronized tools like email integration, live chat on a website or mobile app, Facebook and Instagram messaging, and SMS texting to communicate with customers wherever they prefer to be reached. In fact, people are starting to expect customer service on social media to resolve their concerns.
The real value, however, lies in having a consolidated view of all customer conversations in a single place. Your business will gain key voice of the customer (VoC) insights and help you serve customers more efficiently. For your customers, this means a far better experience with fewer transfers and being asked to repeat themselves.
Speech analytics offer real-time transcription of a phone conversation as it happens with a high degree of accuracy. Each call is analyzed for intent and sentiment and is then cataloged for supervisors and quality managers to review for training and performance evaluation purposes. A transcription that is analyzed by a robust AI platform is much easier to parse than audio, helping you quickly find the highlights and lowlights of the call and review them with your staff.
Agent assist technology
With the Great Resignation, training and onboarding new agents has never been more important. Employee churn within the call center can range from 20% to 100%, placing a heavy burden on customer service teams.
Agent assist tools use AI to understand customer conversations in real-time and then provide agents with the most relevant responses, knowledge base articles, workflows, or similar cases to help them offer the best resolutions. Agent assist technology helps customer service teams ramp new agents faster so they can focus on what matters most — the customer.
We anticipate that more call centers will start to adopt AI-powered technology to augment the performance of agents and deliver care more proactively.
Thanks to conversational AI voice bots, many customers can resolve their own concerns via a self-service portal without ever having to speak to an agent. AI-powered self-service functionalities can free up agents, provide instant problem resolution 24/7, reduce costs, and more. For these reasons, we think more call centers will start adopting self-service channels in the near future.
Unified customer service, sales, and marketing teams
Call center technology is changing the way call centers operate from the inside out. Instead of maintaining the rigid divides between sales, marketing, and customer service teams, modern technology solutions are blurring the line between teams by providing them with the customer data and insights they need to work closer together and assist each other more efficiently.
A focus on technology-driven compliance
When it comes to compliance, there is little to no room for human error. Depending on your industry, there may be a number of compliance regulations and security considerations your company needs to adhere to in your customer service processes.
Business regulations are getting more strict by the year, so regardless of the industry, call centers are looking to available technology to help them effortlessly meet all regulatory requirements in accordance with best practices and regulations. AI-driven compliance can keep staff up to date on new regulatory requirements, minimize fines and delays, reduce regulatory costs, minimize reputational risk, and improve accuracy across all areas of compliance.
Ways to improve customer service with call center technology
Customer service quality can make or break your call center, which is why you should be constantly striving to improve the customer experience you provide. With advanced call center technology at your disposal, you have the opportunity to take your customer service to the next level. Here are several ways you can utilize call center tools to set your employees up for success on every call.
Track employee performance: If your call center is struggling with customer satisfaction, modern call center technology will help you get to the root of the problem. For example, quality monitoring and recording, automated CSAT, and speech analytics can be used to measure efficiency and uncover opportunities for development.
Improve onboarding processes: New employees need complete and consistent training to develop the skills required to resolve caller issues quickly and effectively. Call center technology allows you to reserve training time for new employees, ensuring they’re fully skilled prior to taking calls. When they are ready to take calls, agent assist tools leverage AI to ensure they deliver the best responses from curated sources across the company. With a workforce management platform, managers can add training into scheduling models so new agents have time for training and are not given cases until they’re up to speed.
Frequent communication with employees: Performance and customer service improve when agents and their managers communicate effectively and regularly about customer feedback, company expectations, and team objectives. Call center technologies, such as internal team chats, can facilitate these conversations from wherever your team members are at any given moment.
Offer incentives for top performers: Performance-based incentives may help employees focus better on their goals and improve performance and job satisfaction over time. If an agent’s goal is to reduce handle time or improve customer satisfaction, they can easily measure this metric with a modern call center platform and identify the top performer to reward in this area.
Call center technology FAQ
How much should I expect to spend on advanced call center technology?
Call center software and related technology vary in cost according to features, the size of your organization, and other variables. Most call centers spend an average of $3,900 per user, per year on their tools — excluding the cost of human labor — but it’s important to remember that any advanced call center technology that increases organizational efficiency is an investment that pays for itself over time.
What tools should I have in my call center?
Cloud-based call centers can be started with very little equipment these days due to the online nature of the operation. All you really need is an internet connection and a telephone number to manage inbound and outbound calls, most of which can be sourced from a modern contact center as a service (CCaaS) provider. If you’re looking to expand your operation, increase efficiency, or make people’s jobs more effective, you should consider investing in additional capabilities — including conversational AI and chatbots, automated CSAT, and other software options listed above.
What are the different types of call centers?
Call centers today are inbound, outbound, or hybrid operations. Inbound call centers receive calls from customers who need support in some capacity while outbound call centers make calls regarding leads, sales opportunities, and collections. Hybrid call centers do a little of both, and today’s call center system technologies can support these needs as well as social media, messaging, chat, SMS, email, and more.
Reimagine your call center technology with Sprinklr
Sprinklr’s call center technology can help you improve communication, boost sales and customer service, solve problems more effectively, and increase your employees’ satisfaction and performance. Sprinklr’s Modern Care harnesses the power of AI to connect scattered customer data from 30+ channels into actionable insights that your agents and sales reps can leverage to improve customer satisfaction and deliver a truly special customer experience. Sprinklr — the world’s only unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform — transforms your call center technology with:
Sprinklr Voice delivers a complete call center solution, fueled by real-time customer insights and paired with complete social and digital coverage
Automated Dialers that simplify call scheduling and multiply outbound call volume
Sentiment analysis and scoring to detect customer sentiment during calls using AI-led analytics
Contact center analytics for quick access to KPI and SLA insights and performance metrics for across the organization
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